Archives for June 2009


I feel that we are all surrounded by a million tiny choices every minute of the day. Should I do this? Should I go there? Should I stay? Should I leave? What should I say? Eat? Do? Our lives are dominated by choices and it gets even more confusing when we start questioning the choices we make. Am I doing this because I want to make this person happy? Did I go here just to feel I was doing the right thing? Am I doing too much just to please others and live up to their expectations of me? I think we often tune out our own internal voice and instead let ourselves be guided by others.

Many decisions are made out of guilt. I should do this because it will make him happy. I should go with her to cheer her up. On one hand, it is a nice gesture because it exemplifies how selfless we can be. But we need to learn that sometimes being selfish is not a bad thing, sometimes it is an entirely necessary thing. If you are constantly doing things to make others happy and are rarely giving yourself the same kindness and consideration than you are being the worst possible friend to the most important person in your life…YOU!

Now I talk a good game but I am the last person I ever think about. I am always, always, always more concerned with making others happy. Trust me, people love this about me, but I’m not so sure I love it about myself. Because what often happens is that I end up resenting other people for taking my own precious time and using it all up on something I wasn’t even interested in doing in the first place. Then I end up not wanting to do anything with them the next time they put in a request. It creates a negative energy in my mind towards that person and their “demands.” Sometimes saying “No” to other people is really you just saying “Yes” to yourself.

I guess the moral of the story is, do what makes you happy and everything else should fall into place. (I say “should” because I have yet to actually try this method of living, but I will be certain to keep you posted.)


Sorry for the GIANT logo…I’m going to see if I can make it smaller, but nonetheless, it accurately describes my BIG activity for this rainy Thursday morning. I have to emphasize the fact that it was yet another rainy morning because we have seriously had about 25 days of rain. Wait? That’s almost the whole month of June! I’ve heard rumors that the sun will be peaking it’s tardy head out of the clouds later today, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I remember when I was a child, summer seemed to start weeks before school let out and I would just be chomping at the bit to get out of those stuffy classrooms and into an ice cold pool of liquid blue. But alas, it seems our summers are shrinking and winter has dug in his angry heels and refuses to leave.

Now back to my morning activity. Yes, I went straight from the warm confines of my bed to the cold, hard seat of a Spinning Bike. I have never taken a spinning class and thought it might be an interesting activity to try. Heck, maybe it would become an obsession!

Well, I don’t think it will be becoming an obsession any time soon. I’m not sure I was in love with it. What bothered me most about the class was the fact that it was a class! I like working out on my own. I like to listen to my own music, think my own thoughts and feel secluded…even in a crowded gym. I like the solitary aspect of working out more than the group dynamic. I don’t like having a teacher shout instructions at me. It feels too competitive and negative. I like my work outs to be entirely my own. I can stop when I want, look around, watch the tiny television on the treadmill or just tune out to my own selection of music.

What I did like about this workout was that it took place in the morning. This spinning class made me realize that I love working out in the beginning of the day. It is the best kick start to your day and also takes away that niggling thought in the back of your mind that nags you to get your work done so that you can have time to go to the gym. With a morning workout, it’s done before you even have time to stress about “fitting it in.”

Even as I have been typing this post, the sun is starting to sneak out, ray by tiny ray. I am crossing my fingers and praying for a warm, sunny, childlike weekend!

In the News

Jon and Kate Plus 8

This should come as no surprise but the New York Times is reporting that Jon & Kate have decided to separate. The news came from tonight’s episode on TLC. I don’t watch this show, but I feel like I do because I am constantly bombarded with information on their relationship through the gossip magazines. A week doesn’t go by without a Jon & Kate headline, all I can say is that they must have an incredible publicist.

In more serious news, while I was at the gym, news broke that two trains collided in D.C. during rush hour. As of right now, there have been seven deaths and over twenty serious injuries. According to the mayor, it is the worst Metro accident in D.C.’s history.

{photo courtesy of The New York Times}

The number of families whose lives were destroyed today should act as an awakening for everyone. You never know when the life you know could be changed forever, whether through death, divorce, injury or violence. Never take anyone or anything for granted and appreciate all that you have. Count your blessings on a daily basis, even if you feel like your life is falling apart around you.

Side note: I did not intentionally write about Jon & Kate and a train wreck in the same post. That is merely an ironic coincidence.

Color is Happy

I want to go to Paris!

{photo courtesy of Fifi Mandirac}

Coastal Living from Decor8

I’m in love with the website Decor8 and so I had to post some of the pics that Holly recently uploaded from the June 2009 issue. I’m swooning! …and also craving some Summer sun!

Getting Your Sexy Back

Today’s episode of Oprah was “How to Get Your Sexy Back” and was filled with plenty of Before & After moments. This was one of my favorites…especially because I really, really want that dress! But seriously! How amazing does this woman look?! What I loved most about this makeover episode is that it focused on using what you’ve got and putting the most into YOU! There have been so many makeover shows where people are losing hundreds of pounds and changing their lives. I am immensely impressed by these courageous acts, but at the same time I would love to see more immediate changes, things people can do in a day, a week, a month. I am an impatient person and seeing ways that you can change your life instantly is always fun.

My Day Job

My day job is that I work as a book publicist. “Day Job” that can be misleading because it is actually an all day, all night, haunt you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week kind of job. I love what I do because I love working with authors, coming up with original, unique and authentic ways of marketing my favorite of all commodities…BOOKS! However, there are days when I don’t 100% love my job. Those are usually the days when nothing seems to be going right. No one is biting. There is bigger news going on in the world and editors and producers don’t seem to care a flying fig about a book…especially if that book happens to be fiction.

Fiction tends to have the wonderful ability to land like a lead balloon on the doorsteps of most editors and producers. They really don’t know what to do with it. And that’s where my incredible originality and overall ingenius ability to turn fiction into the most newsworthy of subjects comes in handy. I am not just trying to flatter myself, I  really am that good.

Who else can turn a book about a stay-at-home dad into a political platform? (Ad Hudler’s MAN OF THE HOUSE) or turn the promotion of a romance novel into a gender issue (Susan Mallery’s SUNSET BAY)? I brought a medical thriller writer into the Hollywood spotlight (Michael Palmer’s THE SECOND OPINION) and turned a columnist into a public promoter (Lisa Genova’s STILL ALICE).

This is why I love my job. I love finding the clever hook that is going to turn a book into a hot topic. I love making people become aware of an author or novel they may have overlooked. I love creating that one spark that can launch a career. (Lori Culwell and Brunonia Barry)


Two weeks ago my aunt Fran passed away. It was one of the most horrific days of my entire life. She had been battling Soft Tissue Sarcoma for two years and even though we were aware that it was incurable, we had hope. Because what else is there in life if you don’t have hope? My aunt Fran was braver than any human being I have ever known, but I only really saw her bravery when this disease came into our lives. She battled sarcoma with everything she had and she did not lose faith for one minute. She stayed positive and upbeat and didn’t let the disease take over.

The hardest part about her battle was what it did to her physically. She lost her hair, her ability to walk and her independence. But she continued living on the sunny side of life. She refused to dwell in the darkness of “Why Me?” She wasn’t a victim. Fran remained excited about the little things and allowed them to bring her happiness; a nice dinner, visits with family and friends, a good TV show. That’s how she lived her life before the illness and that’s how she was determined to live her life after the diagnosis.

I read an article in the Boston Globe about terminal patients refusal to understand the reality of their own mortality. The article clearly explains that this is something that needs to be addressed by health care professionals. I completely understand the direction of this article, but having seen it from the other side, I think my aunt’s determination to not accept her negative prognosis is what allowed her to live, truly live, those last months and days of her life.

Now I’m not saying that we don’t need a stronger, more emotionally balanced approach to helping people deal with end-of-life plans. Death is an uncomfortable discussion that people need to have. We need to know the wishes of our loved ones. But we also need to have professionals who can help them deal with the emotional impact their disease is having on their life.

We created a memorial site in her name to record any memories that friends or family wanted to express. Here is what I posted:

My aunt Fran is so much more than the few words I can use to fill up this simple square of a guest book. She was silly and caring and fun. She loved the little things and her enthusiasm was infectious. She was fearless and brave and bossy. She loved her friends and her family and made everyone feel special. She was happy and curious and real. She was so much to so many people. She was my aunt and my friend and my life will never ever be the same without her. I miss her so much that even typing these words makes my heart ache. I can’t imagine life without her, but I am thankful for the time we had together. I love you Fran!

Love Jocelyn

As the week following Fran’s death passed by in a blur of tears and phone calls from worried friends and family, I found myself constantly looking back, remembering happy times when everyone I loved was healthy and together. I found it completely appropriate that Memorial Day arrived just as I was coming out of my haze of mourning. I spent Memorial Day weekend packing up my aunt’s belongings, flipping through old pictures and trying to grasp the finality of death. I don’t understand it. I never will. But I know I will grow stronger every day because that is what we do, as human beings. We break and we get stronger in the broken parts. I will never be the same girl that I saw in those innocent pictures from the past. But I am so much more now. I have experienced tremendous sorrow and I have survived. I am brave and I am strong. Because of Fran I will live in the sunny side of life, as she taught me to do, during the darkest hours of her own short life.

I’m reading…with Oprah

Oprah’s producer just announced on her blog that she will be reading Middlemarch by George Eliot this summer. Check it out here. I am jumping on the bandwagon! Come along for the ride!!


After seeing adorably colorful things like this, it makes me wish I wore more crafty! Kelly Purkey is so good at capturing color in her work. She scrapbooks, she sews, she photographs, she writes…she’s amazing. Check her out on her site and at Fiskars website.


{photo courtesy of the brilliant m.writes}

When I was younger, I was an athlete. I swam competitively. I played soccer and tennis and field hockey. I was constantly moving and when summer came, I lived outside. I didn’t realize how much I would miss those daily bursts of energy along with the schedule and competition. I think these are all things we need. We need to strive towards goals, constantly challenge ourselves and feel proud of our accomplishments. Now that I have hit the big 3-0, I am trying to focus more on getting my life into a healthy balance, something that can sustain me and inspire me and bring about a natural sense of fulfillment and happiness. Having recently been dealt a heavy blow with the passing of my aunt, I am looking for something to help bring me some personal solace and a healthy focus. Recently, while mindlessly clicking around on the internet, I stumbled upon the most entertaining (and inspiring) blog. I found a kindred spirit in Ms. Wiggs and was so completely motivated by her dedication to her own life overhaul. She’s kicking butt and I was totally inspired!

So this morning, after a little corn muffin (which was homemade…thank you very much), I laced up the old sneaks and hit the ground running…literally.

And if I needed a sign to let me know I was on the right path, I found it…this little burst of color on my front stoop…along with a rock that my sister is convinced was bitten by a shark.

So after a little stretching, not too much because I keep reading that it’s better to stretch after a run, I was on my way. I have been running on a treadmill sporadically throughout the winter, but boy is it a whole different ballgame when you hit the outdoors. It just feels like a better workout, and a tougher one too!

And I have to admit that when I got home, the sadness and frustration I have been feeling lately seemed farther away. Life is about choices and I choose to invest in me and my life. I think I’ve made a pretty smart decision.

New York City

I am delighted to report that these beautiful tubes of color are M&M’s. Yes. Over six feet tall, filled to the brim with delicious, candy-coated chocolate of the M&M variety. This was the highlight (for my six-year old niece) of our trip to New York City. What was not the highlight was when I took her into a restaurant bathroom only to be greeted by a cockroach.

My niece has a paralyzing fear of bugs. Ants, teeny, tiny ants, make her scream bloody murder. So you can only imagine how she reacted to this GIANT bug scurrying up the wall of a well-lit, crowded bathroom. As she ran from the stall trembling in shock, a woman who was washing her hands looked at me through the reflection of the mirror and said, “That’s New York for you.”

We left that restaurant immediately, luckily we had yet to order, and landed in Tony’s, a fantastic Italian restaurant a block from Times Square. How can you go wrong with family-style dining and larger-than-life menus posted on the wall? We filled our bellies with homemade fettucine alfredo, baked ziti and chicken marsala. The unmentionable from the previous restaurant was nothing but a bad dream.

We ended the night with a trip to the M&M store in Times Square. Piper found out that if she were an M&M she would be a “Mixed Bag.” And what is better than finding out you have the rainbow inside of you? She was thrilled and the cockroach was officially forgotten…hopefully.

And this is what greeted me in the morning.